The Cloudera Manager Server maintains the state of the cluster. This state can be divided into two categories: "model" and "runtime", both of which are stored in the Cloudera Manager Server database.
Cloudera Manager models clusters and managed services: their roles, configurations, and inter-dependencies. Model state captures what is supposed to run where, and with what configurations. For example, model state captures the fact that a cluster contains 17 hosts, each of which is supposed to run a DataNode. You interact with the model through the Cloudera Manager Admin Console configuration screens and API and operations such as "Add Service".
Runtime state is what processes are running where, and what commands (for example, rebalance HDFS or run a Backup/Disaster Recovery schedule or rolling restart or stop) are currently running. The runtime state includes the exact configuration files needed to run a process. When you select Start in the Cloudera Manager Admin Console, the server gathers up all the configuration for the relevant services and roles, validates it, generates the configuration files, and stores them in the database.
When you update a configuration (for example, the Hue Server web port), you have updated the model state. However, if Hue is running while you do this, it is still using the old port. When this kind of mismatch occurs, the role is marked as having an "outdated configuration". To resynchronize, you restart the role (which triggers the configuration re-generation and process restart).
While Cloudera Manager models all of the reasonable configurations, some cases inevitably require special handling. To allow you to workaround, for example, a bug or to explore unsupported options, Cloudera Manager supports an "advanced configuration snippet" mechanism that lets you add properties directly to the configuration files.